Some healthy advice

By H.C. Wang

Settling into college once you get there can be quite a feat. Of course, this usually applies more to freshmen than anyone else, but after a while, anyone can miss the comforts of home. At home, you can enjoy the tastiness of home cooking. You have your own space where you’re not being kept awake by the kid across the hall blasting music in the middle of the night. You don’t have to deal with school washers and dryers refusing to work properly. All of that on top of colder weather on the horizons and an especially dangerous flu season, living at college can seem pretty grim. The bright side is that it is not impossible to get into the swing of college life. Here are some tips for getting on top of your course load without having to sacrifice your social life and, more importantly, your health.

First things first: This is college, not high school, so you technically don’t have to go to class. Before you get too excited about that, let me advise you against skipping anyway. While it is tempting to hit the snooze button and not force yourself to roll out of bed for that 8:00 a.m. class, it is important to keep up with your school work. Depending on the teacher and class, there can be severe consequences for not going to lecture or discussion sections. Most discussion sections take attendance, and participation counts toward your overall grade. Even for the big lecture classes themselves – while the instructor may very well not notice your absence in a sea of 500 students – it is a disservice to yourself not to attend all of your lectures. You may tell yourself it’s no big deal to miss a few times here and there because it’s a piece of cake to catch up on anything you might have missed by flipping through your textbook instead. In fact, you might figure, if all the material is in your textbook or the lecture notes available online on SPARK, why do you need to attend class at all? Trust me, not a good idea. I know from personal experience that this doesn’t work out so well. It is only too easy to go from thinking that if it’s okay to miss a few lectures, then you can skip out a couple of times a week. Even if it seems to work well enough earlier on in the year, as the semester progresses, so will the difficulty – or at the very least, the amount – of class material. Soon enough, with the flow of all your classes, you simply will not have sufficient extra time to catch up on the things you should have learned in class. Even if you do, it would be a waste of the time you could be spending doing something more pleasurable. Also, professors mention other things in lecture not in the text that you will be expected to know for your exams. At the very least, they will highlight the information that is most important. If you know how to listen for them and take good notes, this will help you out a lot later on.

By now, you’ve probably noticed how temperamental the washers and dryers in the dorm laundry rooms are. It looks like a lot of them have been replaced this year, but it has been reported to me that there are still problems. My advice: Save your quarters and do laundry every other week. Now that is not an excuse to don dirty clothes and smell like a locker room. I just mean if you don’t absolutely have to wear a certain item the following week, you can put off the wash for later. Just think of it as an environmentally friendly thing to do when it comes to saving water and energy, as well as saving yourself time. Seriously ladies, you do not need three changes of tops for each event you attend. When the holidays roll around, if you can hold off until you get home to do it for free, then that can save you some pocket money as well. If, however, you are running low on socks and underwear then please, by all means, do us all a favor and do your laundry.

Last but not least, with the constant looming presence of swine flu thrumming like a dark undercurrent, it is time to recall back to the days of your childhood. Remember your mom’s rule about washing your hands before meals and covering your mouth after you cough? Observe it. Carry around antibacterial gel. UHS offers flu clinics. Go get vaccinated! It won’t help you stave off H1N1 (that vaccine will be available soon, I believe), but it helps in the meantime to make sure you’re not missing days of school or work and feeling generally crappy for catching the regular flu. Drink plenty of fluids and hit the gym.

That’s all for now, folks. Got a problem? I’ve probably got an answer. Drop me a line.

H.C. Wang is a Collegian columnist. She can be reached at [email protected].